Serving Minnesota and Northern Iowa.

Corn harvest about half done

By Janet Kubat Willette
jkubat@agrinews.com

Date Modified: 11/14/2013 8:23 AM

E-mail article | Print version

Soybean harvest is wrapping up across Minnesota, with the National Agricultural Statistics Service reporting 91 percent of the harvest was complete as of Oct. 27.

Farmers and Extension educators contacted for this story agreed, saying soybean harvest was mostly wrapped up in their areas. Moisture levels were 13 percent or less. Yields varied, depending on soil type, planting date, moisture received and other factors.

Gerald Mulder, of Renville, a Minnesota Corn Growers Association board member, said soybeans in his area averaged 50 to 60 bushels per acre.

In the Goodhue area, most of the soybeans yielded 45 to 55 bushels, with a few 60s here and there, said Ryan Buck, president of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association.

In the Granite Falls, Clarkfield and Benson areas, soybean yields ranged from the 30s to the 50s, said University of Minnesota regional Extension educator Jodi DeJong-Hughes.

In the Mower, Steele and Freeborn County area, soybeans averaged just less than 50 bushels per acre, said U of M regional Extension educator Ryan Miller.

Lisa Behnken, U of M regional Extension educator, had just finished compiling preliminary data from two soybean plots: One near Rock Dell and the other east of Rochester. Both were planted in mid-June. At the Rock Dell site, yields ranged from 47 to 54 bushels across all varieties and maturities, with an average of 50 bushels. At the Lawler site east of Rochester, yields averaged 55 bushels, Behnken said. The Lawler site received more rain.

Yield variability exists not only from field-to-field, but also within fields, Behnken said. She's heard reports of soybeans yielding 35 to 65 bushels to the acre in the same field. She's heard a lot of 40 bushel-to-the-acre soybean yields. On the Port Byron soils, yields of 55-plus are common.

The yields are pretty amazing given a mid-June planting date, and a heat wave and drought toward the latter part of the growing season, she said. A warm September and a two weeks later than average first freeze date helped the crop reach maturity.

The drought took some of the top edges off the yield, with pod abortion occurring in areas that were drought stressed.

NASS reported corn harvest was 48 percent complete statewide, with average moisture at 21 percent.

Behnken estimated about 50 percent of the corn crop was harvested in the Olmsted County area, with the pace of harvest affected by the amount of corn acres that were never planted.

Most of the corn, if not all, must be dried and handling wetter corn slows people down, she said. For livestock producers, the harvest season has been extended as they chopped silage in September and then waited for the corn to get to the right level to harvest as high-moisture corn.

A lot of the corn is yielding 140 to 150 bushels per acre, with corn planted in May coming in with moisture in the teens compared to the 20s for corn planted in June. In places that caught more rain, yields are coming in at 170 to 180 bushels, Behnken said. Reports of 200 bushel plus per acre have been received.

The respectable yields show the horsepower of the hybrids farmers are planting today, Behnken said.

Tom Haag, a Minnesota Corn Growers Association board member from Eden Valley, said yields in his area are averaging 135 to 165 bushels. Moisture ranges from the upper teens to lower 20s.

Overall, Haag said, farmers are pretty satisfied given the late planting, early rains, drought and cool August thrown at the crop.

Most people in his area needed about a week to wrap up harvest. He's ready to be done, remembering the Halloween blizzard of 1991. It's hard to combine in snow drifts, he said.

In the Goodhue area, harvest was about 50 percent complete last week, Buck said. The biggest issue was the propane shortage, with some suppliers limited to delivering only every other day. The issue didn't affect him personally, but he knew of people who'd been cut off.

He'd heard yields ranging from 160 to 200 bushels per acre, with test weights coming in anywhere from 52 to 56.

Buck said they were within days of wrapping up harvest. Tillage remains to be done.

Down in Mower County, one of the counties most impacted by the late spring, yields had taken a hit, coming in at 85 to 115 bushels per acre, Miller said. Freeborn, Mower and the two counties below them in Iowa were the bulls-eye for prevented plant acres this year, he said.

In Steele and Freeborn counties, corn yields averaged around 150 bushels, he said.

In the Clarkfield and Benson area, harvest was moving slow, DeJong-Hughes said, with a couple factors coming into play. A lack of propane — she counted 25 trucks waiting at a propane terminal on the morning of Oct. 31 — and th a steady drizzle that kept the corn just wet enough that it didn't run properly.

She's heard yields of anywhere from 130 to 210 bushels.

Farmer Mulder said a storm that came through the area on Sept. 19 laid a lot of corn on the ground and has slowed harvest.

According to the Minnesota Climate Journal, most of the severe weather occurred in a narrow swath from Yellow Medicine County in southwest Minnesota, then to Hutchinson in McLeod County and then northeast to Isanti and Chisago counties.

The storms brought heavy downpours, large hail and some damaging winds.

Mulder said his neighbor clocked the winds at 90 mph.

Yields range from 150 to 200 bushels per acre, with test weights coming in around 55. Moisture has come down to the 19 percent to 22 percent range.

Sugarbeets were 84 percent lifted, compared with last year's 90 percent.